Book Review: Lucky

Lucky is a children’s fantasy adventure story by Rutvi Parikh, in which we meet Brooke, Adam, Rosilia, Heather, and Samuel. All these children are lacking in some way, and so embark on a journey, with the help of some magical creatures, to find what they’re all looking for.

Before I begin sharing my opinions, I’d like to share the fact that Rutvi is an 11-year-old sixth grader, and this is their first ever book. I find this so impressive – when I was 11, I loved drafting stories but due to the lack of technology, publication was never an option at all. So Rutvi, well done for writing your first story at such a young age!

What I liked about Lucky was the switches in narrative, so you could see every character’s thoughts, feelings, and learn more about their backstory. The chapters were quite short, which I think helped to create a “snapshot” of each character, rather than an overly detailed chapters.

Lucky also has a moral message at the end, which I thought was clever, and it reminded me of The Fountain of Fair Fortune story, in The Tales of Beedle the Bard, a “spin-off” fiction from J.K. Rowling after its mention in Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows.

However, I do have some constructive criticism. Some of the narrative switched between tenses accidentally – it can be easy to mix up ‘am’ with ‘was’ and so on, I did this as a child too – which disrupted the flow of the story a little. Also, some of the dialogue was written “LIKE THIS?!???????????”, which I thought was unnecessary.

I’ll also share this tip I picked up from Stephen King’s memoir, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, you don’t need to use lots of alternative adverbs to describe someone’s speech. He/She said always works the best, and you don’t need to feel guilty about using it often.

As an adult, children’s fantasy stories aren’t really my thing anymore (although obviously making an exception for Harry Potter), but I am convinced that 11-year-old me would have loved Lucky.

It was generally well-written and easy to read, and if you have children that enjoy fantasy and adventure, I strongly encouraged you to show it to them!

Lucky is available to buy as an e-book or paperback from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com.

– Judith

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Book Review: The Booze Stole My Son

The Booze Stole My Son is a non-fiction, autobiographical account by Aui V on Wattpad, of a mother’s grief at the loss of her son, JC, who died after a drunk-driving incident.

I found Aui’s story incredibly powerful and you could really feel the emotion in her writing. This was not an easy book to read, which is to be expected, given the topic.

The style of writing switches between extracts from a personal diary, and formally written pieces to inform the reader of Aui’s experiences and religious beliefs, as well as some well-grounded scientific research into alcoholism.

Aui is certainly an accurate narrator; she is a qualified nurse, and has seen the destructive impact of alcoholism on other family members and friends.

Yet because of the switches in narrative styles, the book felt a little unstructured at times. However, this did not detract from the message of this book; I think what is more important is the fact that Aui was able to write The Booze Stole My Son as a coping mechanism, to help her come to terms with such a devastating loss.

She was determined to finish her book and bravely speak of her experiences, to reach out, educate and support other people who may be going through similar circumstances.

Although a relatively short read, The Booze Stole My Son is an inspiring and eye-opening tale, and I certainly learnt a lot reading it.

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Many thanks to Aui for reaching out to me via WordPress, and asking me to read her story.  The Booze Stole My Son (Don’t Let It Steal Yours) is available to read for free on Wattpad.

– Judith